Colo. Pot Wafting Into Neighboring States

By Brett Snider, Esq. on April 21, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As Colorado closes out its fourth month with operating recreational pot stores, folks in neighboring states are beginning to get irritated.

Some adjacent state lawmakers are vexed that the Rocky Mountain State's weed is making its way across state lines, leaving neighboring states' law-enforcement officers to deal with the pot problem.

What do Colorado's neighbors make of this legal situation?

Nebraska Seeing Negative Effects

While Colorado stands to make substantial tax revenues from selling legalized pot to both tourists and residents, Nebraska only stands to lose tax dollars. According to the Omaha World-Herald, "premium-quality cannabis from Colorado" has been making its way into western Nebraska, where the drug is still very much illegal.

The state's legislators and police officers are unhappy with the influx of marijuana cases siphoning the state's law-enforcement funds. Professor Anthony Schutz of the University of Nebraska College of Law told the World-Herald that the state would love for Colorado to share some of its pot tax revenue, but that result is "probably unlikely."

Schutz also floated the idea that Colorado's law might be challenged under the dormant commerce clause for its negative effect on Nebraska. (Missouri currently has such a challenge pending against California -- though that lawsuit is over egg laws, not marijuana.)


The Equality State has also seen more "green" since Colorado legalized marijuana. As pot tourists surge to Colorado to purchase "legal" weed, Wyoming officers have been prepared to catch anyone "holding" on the way back through the state.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol hasn't made any significant changes in their enforcement of the laws, but law enforcement have expected a bump in marijuana arrests on the Wyoming-Colorado border, reports the Casper Star-Tribune.

Utah and New Mexico

Much like Wyoming, neither Utah nor New Mexico law enforcement have any extra commitments for policing marijuana from across the Colorado border. Utah Department of Public Safety Capt. Tyler Kotter told USA Today that "[w]e're not setting up at the border" despite it "standing to reason" that more marijuana will be moving through the state.

Perhaps Utah is softening on the question of marijuana's legality. Utah recently determined that children with severe epilepsy could make use of medical cannabis starting July 1, but they would have to seek it from Colorado, not Utah, reports the Guardian Liberty Voice.

Pot is still illegal under federal law in all states, but this conflict of state laws may motivate reform.

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